But it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to suit up your armor and spend loads of energy to say no to foods that make you want to leave home, family and career just to smell the packaging. I’ve discovered a much easier, calm way to practice self-sovereignty, even in the face of an “Everything” bagel.
It’s a delayed gratification technique I call “Postponing The Goods.” It helps me to say “NO” to fat and sugar bombs without pain or suffering. It was an integral part of a plan that helped me drop 15 pounds and two waist sizes and keep them off for the last 25 years.
Before I tell you how do works, it’s important to realize that my approach is not a diet strategy even though it will help you lose weight. Diet means deprivation. What I’m going to show you is not how to deprive yourself but how to strategically indulge in a way that results in weight loss (albeit slowly).
The whole idea behind my approach is to eliminate “no and low” craving eating. And by that I mean eating when you’re not hungry or when your craving for a certain food isn’t that high. Ever eaten a doughnut and thought, “This was delicious but why did I eat it– I didn’t want it that badly?”
There are lots of reasons why you ate a donut without a high craving for it–– It could be emotional distress, the peer pressure of communal eating (everybody in the group dug into the box), or simply because you didn’t have a framework for deciding when to eat a doughnut.
It’s this last point that I want to focus on. Most of us think of indulging in something like donuts with a “yes” or “no” answer. I have better response for you – –“LATER.” As in, “How about I have a donut later when my craving for it is higher than it is now.”
Allow me to introduce a delayed gratification technique I call Postponement Of The Goods. You are not going to deny yourself that donut; you’re going to postpone eating it until your craving for it is stronger. And by doing that you will be doing two things: 1) Avoid “no or low” craving eating and 2) Indulge yourself in one of the truly great foods. The result is weight loss because you can, as I did, eliminate almost all “no and low” craving eating, which could be up to half your caloric consumption.
The first thing you have to do is to establish a trigger point for your cravings. I use a “7” out of a 1 – 10 scale (1 meaning you barely want it, 10 meaning you’d drown a kitten just to lick the food). I use “7” because for me it is the beginning of a real pain point.
So let’s take a look at how it works:
An office worker walks in with a box of hot, freshly baked Krispy Kreme donuts (the bastard!). I do three things:
1. Pause. I do not reach for the donut and I do not tell myself I shouldn’t have it. I simply pause for a couple seconds.
2. Rate the craving. On a scale of one to 10 I ask myself, “How badly do I want this donut?”
3. Eat or postpone. If I can honestly say that my craving for the doughnut is a “7” or higher, I eat it. Gleefully, by the way, because the proper response to eating a delicious food when you have a high desire for it is to enjoy it. If it doesn’t reach my trigger point, I say to myself, “Why don’t I have it when my craving for it is stronger?” So I decline the invitation to dig in.
What does it mean to “postpone” eating a donut? It means waiting for the next opportunity (it could be later that night or next week) and if the craving hits the pre-agreed trigger you eat it (gleefully, don’t forget!).
The point isn’t to deprive yourself of donuts (that would be a diet)––it is to provide a criteria for when to indulge. My “Postponement of the Goods” strategy is a delayed gratification technique that teaches you discipline without suffering. There is no real pain associated with saying no to a donut when your craving for it is low. Even if your craving reaches a “5” or “6” saying no causes mild discomfort not sharp pain.
You don’t need a straight jacket to exercise self control over fattening foods, you just need a set of criteria that helps you differentiate “no and low” cravings from truly high desires.